Prayer of the Day

Feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

August 9th, 2014
""The Bridegroom is here, go out and meet him."" Matthew 25 : 6

Edith was born in 1891 in Breslaw, now Wroclaw in Poland.  She was the youngest of seven  children of a Jewish family.  Her father died when she was a child but her mother, who was deeply religious, kept the family together.  When Edith was 14 she lost her faith in God.  She wrote: “I consciously decided, of my own volition, to give up praying.”  She was a brilliant student and studied philosophy under Edmund Husserl.  At 25 she received her doctorate. In 1921 while staying with a friend she read the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila and it had a great influence on her.  She said: ” When I had finished the book I said to myself; This is truth.”  Later looking back on her life she wrote: “My longing for truth was a single prayer.”  In 1922 she became a Catholic.  In 1933 she entered a Carmelite convent in Cologne.  She made her full profession in 1938.  She had the words of St. John of the Cross printed on her devotional picture: “Henceforth my only vocation is to love.”  Because of horrific ant-Semitism in 1938 Edith was smuggled across the border into a Carmelite convent in the Netherlands.  In 1942 the Gestapo came for her and her sister Rosa, who had joined her in the convent.  They were sent to the concentration camp in Auschwitz and went to the gas chamber on the 9th August.
The first reading (Hos. 2:16-17, 21-23) speaks of the covenant which God made with his people Israel, Edith’s Jewish ancestors.  And the gospel (Matt. 25:1-13) suggests that Edith was a wise virgin who waited for the Lord with joy, even death in a concentration camp.  Back in 1939 she wrote: I accept the death that God has prepared for me in complete submission and with joy as being his most holy will for me.”

Prayer Loving God thank you for the example of the saints who show us that even in the midst of terrible evil it is possible to live lives dedicated to you. Amen